David Starkey has defended remarks he made in which he compared the Scottish National Party (SNP) to the Nazis.

The outspoken TV historian refused to apologise for the comments, telling Sky News the similarities between the two are “striking and are worrying”.

The SNP said Starkey had become a “figure of fun” who was “parading his ignorance”.

Starkey was standing by remarks he initially made in the Sunday Times.

During the newspaper interview, he claimed the saltire was like the swastika and likened the SNP’s view of the English to Hitler’s attitude towards Jewish people.

He also argued that those who sympathise with the SNP were “incapable of recognising that this is national socialism” and said that Scots who show their knees in kilts recalled the traditional dress of Germany.

Speaking on Sky News today, the historian insisted he was not sorry for any offence caused by his comments and described the SNP as a type of “virulently nationalist party” that had not been seen in Britain before.

“It’s time we call things by their proper names. That’s all I’m trying to do,” he said.

“I’m not saying they’re about to set up concentration camps, I’m not going to say that we’re going to see a Kristallnacht of English businesses in Edinburgh, of course we’re not.

“But the resemblances are striking and are worrying.

“We’ve spent years fussing in Britain about completely minor fringe things like the BNP and whatever.

“They are nothing compared with the Scottish Nationalist (sic) Party, which has seized control of a whole country and is pushing this kind of radical agenda.”

When reminded that the SNP won 50% of the Scottish vote in the recent general election, Starkey added: “Lots of people have voted for very unpleasant leaders, I shan’t mention the word Hitler. Democracy doesn’t always get it right.”

An SNP spokesman said: “Having likened the national flag of Scotland to a swastika – thus insulting everyone in Scotland, regardless of their politics – David Starkey has reduced himself to a figure of fun. For someone whose livelihood is based on knowing things, he seems extraordinarily keen on parading his ignorance.”